Connacht back in groove with easy win over South Africans

Connacht's Matt Healy is tackled by Southern Kings' Yaw Penxe during Saturday's Guinness PRO14 tie at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.
Connacht's Matt Healy is tackled by Southern Kings' Yaw Penxe during Saturday's Guinness PRO14 tie at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht 32

 Southern Kings 10

THE result was expected and it was delivered with relatively little fuss on Saturday. The new South African sides are not ready for this competition and might not be ready for half a season. They are a disjointed but not entirely bereft of attacking talent so will at least entertain on their travels.

Connacht had complete and total domination here at scrum and lineout time and never looked unduly worried. The action lulled considerably in the second half and for that reason the scoreline probably flatters to deceive as by the time Ultan Dillane bundled over in first half injury time, the lead was 24-5 and all doubt had been erased.

Trying to ascertain if this was an overall team improvement on the Glasgow performance is difficult to judge considering the quality of opponent, yet there are lots of little encouraging nuggets that were observed here that would suggest this campaign has the potential to take flight in the coming months.

As a starting point, take the emerging talent factor. There are signs of a refresh within the camp and some new names emerging from the fringes. Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell and Steve Crosbie in particular stood out here. Hardly a radical infusion but all three are worth watching in the coming weeks as Connacht look to regain a foothold after the day one stumble.

Leader, in particular, stood out on the wing. It seems a more suitable role for him, he has an extraordinary range with his boot and it’s a real weapon in open play and from penalties. That’s just for starters, Leader’s pace is impressive, he’s strong and agile and this was best illustrated for his second half try that sealed the bonus point.

The 24-year-old has been held back by injury but appears to be backand flying. It’s notable that Kieran Keane had Darragh beside him in the post game press conference, that is unlikely to be a random selection and you can be sure that the new head coach was taken by the performance here.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.